10 Questions: A Q&A with Craig Rodriguez, VP of Marketing for DENTSPLY Implants North America

January 28, 2013

01. Astra Tech was recently acquired by DENTSPLY. How has that impacted the company?

01. Astra Tech was recently acquired by DENTSPLY. How has that impacted the company?

The acquisition and integration process since has been an extremely positive experience. We believe DENTSPLY International’s more than 110 years of experience and leadership in the dental industry will allow us many great opportunities in the areas of product development, research and customer-focused initiatives. In April of this year, we introduced DENTSPLY Implants--the union of Astra Tech Dental and DENTSPLY Friadent--to the North American market. It is with great enthusiasm that we look forward to the future.

02. Did the acquisition bring new resources to the company?

We have a wealth of “new” resources following the acquisition. First of all, DENTSPLY International, with its years of experience and span of businesses and divisions that cover all aspects of dentistry, allows us to gain further exposure and a deeper insight to the needs of dental professionals. In addition, with a commitment to providing the highest level of customer service and support in mind, we have expanded our team in the field as well as within our corporate office.

03. Will customers notice anything different?

The reliability of quality and service customers have come to expect from DENTSPLY Tulsa Dental Specialties and Astra Tech Dental will remain. However, we hope customers will notice the difference in their localized support as a result of our expanded field team. Another area of difference is our ability to provide a truly comprehensive product portfolio including implants, patient-specific restorative solutions, regenerative bone products, guided surgery planning and professional development tools. Being able to get all their implant needs from one trusted source means greater convenience and simplicity for our customers.

04. How does your ATLANTIS™ brand of patient-specific implant solutions benefit patients, clinicians and dental labs?

ATLANTIS™ abutments are designed and produced for the specific edentulous spaces they will fit. The unique anatomical shape and emergence profile promotes long-term soft tissue management, and provides optimal support and retention of the final restoration. This results in unmatched esthetic and functional outcomes. Offering flexibility and time savings, ATLANTIS™ makes it easy to provide high quality implant prosthetics without additional staff, training or inventory. The laboratory is able to achieve greater efficiency by leveraging digital technologies including online ordering via ATLANTIS™ WebOrder, real-time review and design editing, and lab-based scanning with 3M Lava and Dental Wings scanners, with 3Shape scanner compatibility arriving this year.

05. What sets ATLANTIS™ apart from other CAD/CAM solutions?

There are many distinctions between ATLANTIS™ and other CAD/CAM solutions. ATLANTIS™ is available for the widest range of interfaces in a comprehensive portfolio of materials including titanium, gold-shaded titanium and multiple shades of zirconia. ATLANTIS™ abutments are comprised of a unique combination of four key features, known as the ATLANTIS BioDesign Matrix™, that work together to support soft tissue management for ideal functional and esthetic results. Designed using the patented ATLANTIS VAD™ (Virtual Abutment Design) software that creates an initial engineered design in a virtual environment, ATLANTIS™ abutments allow the technician’s design specifications to be integrated, while the software analyzes all specifications to automatically detect multiple features and design parameters. All ATLANTIS™ connections and screws are specifically engineered and tested for each implant interface following the same testing protocol for regulatory authority clearance as implant OEM products. And because the abutment design is fully digitized, an exact duplicate abutment and a later order of a duplicate abutment, with or without changes, is possible.

06. Why do you offer a warranty on your ATLANTIS™ abutments as well as the implant, regardless of whether it’s your implant or one from a competitor?

At DENTSPLY Implants, we are committed to providing products of the highest quality and supporting our customers. Our comprehensive warranty is designed to give our customers the peace of mind they deserve. The way we look at it is, no two patients are alike--so why should their treatment solution be? Because we firmly believe ATLANTIS™ is the best choice for a patient-specific restoration, it is only right that we have the warranty to support it.

07. How do you integrate ATLANTIS™ into the workflows of different labs?

Incorporating ATLANTIS™ does not require investment in additional software or equipment. Therefore, labs are always free to adjust their use according to the current flow of their cement-retained or single-tooth screw-retained implant restoration orders. The level of involvement in the design of the abutment is also up to the lab. The ATLANTIS™ business model represents true freedom and flexibility, independent of the size of the laboratory today or how it may expand in the future.

08. How important is it for your technology to be able to connect with a variety of scanners and CAD systems?

The concept of “open solutions” is extremely important to us because it is important to our customers. When you look at the investment each laboratory needs to make in equipment and software, it is in their best interest that we allow them to capitalize on that investment. We continue to partner with companies such as 3M, Dental Wings, 3Shape and others, because it brings profitability, efficiency and simplicity for our customers.

09. Can you explain how your recently launched ATLANTIS Abutment core files fit into a lab’s digital workflow?

ATLANTIS™ Abutment core file is a digital representation of the outer surface of an Atlantis™ Abutment that enables design of the coping and final restoration before the lab receives the physical abutment. This digital solution allows the laboratory to save time and helps ensure accuracy of coping fit by eliminating the need to scan the abutment. Currently, ATLANTIS Abutment core file is compatible with Dental Wings software (DWOS) 2.5.5. Compatibility with 3Shape will be available later this year.

10. What new innovations are on the horizon for DENTSPLY Implants?

To help further streamline the laboratory workflow, our digital technology and product development efforts will continue. Upcoming advancements include additional interface and scanner compatibility for ATLANTIS™, and conus abutments for implant-supported overdentures. Other key areas of customer support include extensive training and educational opportunities as well as co-marketing programs.